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Rereading Stranger - Mo's Journal — LiveJournal
May 28th, 2008
10:29 am

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Rereading Stranger

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From:mofic
Date:May 28th, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
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The Heinlein juveniles are a bunch of books he wrote for kids during the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s. Each one has a story, but also science lessons. I loved them as a kid and still love them. My favorites are: Citizen of the Galaxy (I think this one is the most sophisticated, in plot and characters, and the only one where the science lesson is a social science), Time for the Stars, and Tunnel in the Sky.

I've had the experience you had of seeing what I missed in books I enjoyed as a kid a *lot*, both in a course in grad school on the history of children's literature and through reading old favorites to my kids. When I read Little Women as an adult, I was struck by what I hadn't realized:

- That the war that their father is off in is the Civil War. It was just some generic war to me as a kid.
- That he is not a soldier.
- Most importantly - that they aren't poor. That's one of the main themes of the book, that because of their diminished circumstances the March girls *think* they're poor, but they aren't. Only it went totally over my head.

Oh, and later on - when my kids all got Scarlet Fever, which is what Beth dies of - I was struck by the change in medical knowledge and treatment.

Edited at 2008-05-28 04:05 pm (UTC)
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From:kestrelsparhawk
Date:May 29th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC)
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Citizen of the Galaxy and Between Planets were my favorites, each in its own way, with Red Planet high up there. (Which might have led to higher expectations for Stranger.) and of course Have Spacesuit, Will Travel, which was heavy science indeed but easy reading even though I didn't know how to use a sliderule. ;)

Tunnel in the Sky I think reflects the Dangerous Heinlein -- the guy who sees that democratic decisionmaking is by its nature bad, that a good woman is one who watches your back and defers to you, that humans are in a battle against nature throughout the universe, and must win....
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From:mofic
Date:May 29th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
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Oh the slide rules! I loved the slide rules. I thought it was so funny to have these futuristic types with their slide rules. I had to explain to Doran what one was. And yes, I *do* (or at least did) have slide rules and knew how to use them.

Tunnel in the Sky was to me like the sunny alternative to Lord of the Flies - kids on their own and they make a go of it. And I saw Carolyn and Rod as best friends/teammates and thought it was very radical of Heinlein to have a pair that was biracial and boy/girl.
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